Jacksonville high school football coach dies from COVID-19

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s always bigger than a game. When it comes to Lin Shell, a widely known football player and coach in the city of Jacksonville and beyond, his performance and actions on the field were just a small part of what — as Action News Jax was told — an amazing man he was.

Calling Lin Shell “coach” was an honor itself, but to call him a friend was something Brandon Thomas said was special.

“Coach Shell was the guy, he was the rock for everybody,” Thomas said.

Action News Jax learned Shell died suddenly from COVID-19 complications.

Former players described him as a jack of all trades. Once an assistant coach at Andrew Jackson High School and a recent interim head coach at Ribault High School, Shell also played college football at Jacksonville University and spent several years in the Canadian Football League.

“He was all about effort, give everything you had on the field. Don’t leave anything out just give it all you can,” Thomas said.

Thomas graduated from Ribault High School in 2016. He said at the time Shell was working security and helping with the football team, adding that he wouldn’t be who he is today without Coach Shell.

“I wouldn’t have made it through high school without him,” he said. “For me to lose a piece of my family it hurts, it’s like a piece I can’t get back.”

Tributes continue to pour in for Coach Shell online. Former players said his legacy would last forever and never be forgotten.